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Memorial to First World War casualties to be dedicated at event this weekend

PUBLISHED: 12:46 13 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 15 September 2016

Christ Church in Gravesend celebrates its anniversary

Christ Church in Gravesend celebrates its anniversary

Archant

The original memorial was buried during removal works 80 years ago

Parishioners will celebrate the return of a war memorial to their local church this weekend, after the first plaque was lost more than 80 years ago.

The memorial to 60 men who died in the First World War will be dedicated by the Bishop of Rochester during Sunday’s service at Christ Church in Milton-next-Gravesend.

The original plaque was officiated in 1922, but by 1935, the church was on the brink of falling apart.

A decision was made to dismantle the building and move it brick by brick to its current home.

The church was saved, but the memorial was lost in the process.

Three years ago the plaque was dug up, but the names had worn away.

Fortunately the church had kept a list of the names, and a new memorial was made.

Since then, the church has managed to track down 10 relatives of the brave men whose names mark the plaque, all of whom have been invited to this weekend’s celebrations.

Reverend Sue Brewer spoke ahead of this weekend’s event.

She said: “It will really will be worth it to put the memorial back in its rightful place, and remember the people lost during the course of the First World War.

“We have managed to locate a few relatives, but a lot of the people who died were in their late teens, many of them didn’t have children, so they are great-great uncles.”

Any money raised from the event will be sent to peace charity Coventry Cross of Nails.

The church will be open on Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from noon to 5pm for a peace themed flower festival, with an art exhibition and another exhibition on the First World War.

A concert will also take place at the church on Saturday night.

The church reverend stressed the importance of striving for peace, explaining the memorial’s importance.

She said: “I think it’s important for future generation that they remember these wars.

“The people who died lost their lives for a cause that was important to the country and it is still important today that we remember the war in the hope that in the future we can live our lives in peace.”

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